In July 2017, the Supreme Court quashed the fees regime operating in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal. As the fees system was ruled unlawful, the Ministry of Justice is now required to reimburse all fees that were paid. Here, we report on the reimbursement scheme launched in October 2017.
What is the background?
The Supreme Court quashed the Employment Tribunal fees regime in July 2017. You can read our report on the Supreme Court's decision here. Last month we wrote here about plans which were afoot to introduce a scheme to reimburse the £27 million worth of Tribunal fees which had been paid. In most cases, fees had been paid by claimants, however, some respondent employers had also paid fees (e.g. for judicial mediation or as part of a costs order).
When was the reimbursement scheme launched?
On 20 October 2017, the Ministry of Justice launched the fee reimbursement scheme. The scheme will be implemented in phases. In the initial phase of the scheme, approximately 1,000 selected individuals will be contacted and given the chance to complete application forms for a reimbursement.
Applicants will be eligible for a full refund of the fees they have paid, together with interest at the rate of 0.5%, calculated from the date of the original payment up to the refund date
When will the reimbursement scheme be rolled out in full?
This initial phase of the scheme is expected to last for about 4 weeks. After that, the scheme will be opened up to all.
Does the reimbursement scheme extend to fees paid by a respondent employer?
It is understood that the scheme will cover both claimants and respondents who paid fees, and will extend to respondents who had to pay a claimant's fees by way of a costs order (although evidence of this will be required).
However, it is thought that the scheme will not extend to respondents who paid the value of the claimant's fees to the claimant as part of a settlement agreement. In that scenario, the claimant would be entitled to reclaim their fees and will double recover.
Full details of the scheme, including how it can be accessed, will be made available when the scheme is fully rolled out.
If I have not been invited to take part in the initial phase of the scheme, can I register my interest in applying for a reimbursement?
Anyone who has paid an Employment Tribunal fee, but who has not been invited to take part in the initial phase, can register their interest in applying for a reimbursement when the full scheme is rolled out.
Those who wish to register their interest in applying for a reimbursement can do so in the following ways:
- By post in England and Wales: Employment Tribunal Central Office (England and Wales) / Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees, PO Box 10218, Leicester, LE1 8EG
- By post in Scotland: Employment Tribunals Central Office Scotland / Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees, PO Box 27105, Glasgow, G29 JRX